Synopses & Reviews
Almost unknown to the rest of the globe, Xiaomi has become the world's third-largest mobile phone manufacturer. Its high-end phones are tailored to Chinese and emerging markets, where it outsells even Samsung. Since the 1990s China has been climbing up the ladder of quality, from doing knockoffs to designing its own high-end goods.
Xiaomi its name literally means "little rice" is landing squarely in this shift in China's economy. But the remarkable rise of Xiaomi from startup to colossus is more than a business story, because mobile phones are special. The common desiderata of the global population, mobile phones offer the kind of freedom and connectedness that autocratic countries are terrified of. China's fortune and future clearly lie with "opening up" to the global market, requiring it to allow local entrepreneurs to experiment.
Clay Shirky, one of the most influential and original thinkers on how technological innovation affects social change around the world, now turns his attention to the most populous country of them all. The case of Xiaomi exemplifies the balancing act that China has to perfect to navigate between cheap copies and innovation, between the demands of local and global markets, and between freedom and control.
In this bite size but substantive case study Shirky (Cognitive Surplus) explores Xaomi Chinese company which has a reputation as "the most valuable startup ever" having grown to be the third largest producer of smart phones worldwide in only five years. But rather than focus on the business practices or startup culture of the company Shirky uses Xaomi's story as a "lens that makes the importance and contradictions of modern China easier to see." Most prominently Xaomi represents China's influential and growing place on the global economic stage. With an increasing middle class China is now the world's biggest producer and consumer of mobile phones and Xaomi counters the image of China as only the cheap producer of Western designed products. However these networked devices also illuminate the tensions between China's open market and its closed political system. As more and more citizens purchase smartphones the nominally communist government finds it more difficult "to maintain the desired equilibrium between elites where access is tolerated and the general public where it is feared." The future of China is a difficult one to predict Shirky readily admits. In many ways though Xaomi offers hints of what may come to bear and its successes and failures are quite significant. (Oct.) " Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
Smartphones have to be made someplace, and that place is China. In just five years, a company names Xiaomi (which means "little rice" in Mandarin) has grown into the most valuable startup ever, becoming the third largest manufacturer of smartphones, behind only Samsung and Apple. China is now both the world's largest producer and consumer of a little device that brings the entire globe to its user's fingertips. How has this changed the Chinese people? How did Xiaomi conquer the worlds' biggest market" Can the rise of Xiaomi help realize the Chinese Dream, China's bid to link personal success with national greatness?
Clay Shirky, one of the most influential and original thinkers on the internet's effects on society, spends a year in Shanghai chronicling China's attempt to become a tech originator--and what it means for the future course of globalization.
About the Author
divides his time between consulting, teaching, and writing on the social and economic effects of Internet technologies. He is the author of two recent books on the subject, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
(2010) and Here Comes Everybody: The Power of Organizing Without Organizations
(2008). He holds a joint appointment at New York University, as an associate arts professor at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) and as an associate professor in the journalism department. He is also a fellow at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and he was the Edward R. Murrow Visiting Lecturer at Harvard's Joan Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics, and Public Policy in 2010. A graduate of Yale, his writing appears frequently in The New York Times, Wired, The Wall Street Journal
, and Harvard Business Review
, and his TED Talks have been viewed by millions. He lives in New York City.